Winter Driving Kills Hyundai Kona Electric Efficiency: Video


Solving the EV range & efficiency puzzle isn’t easy.

Though the EPA rates electric cars quite accurately, the lab can’t account for all conditions. Nor does it try to.

Therefore, as winter sets in, we like to turn to these anecdotal stories for a better gauge of expectations.

In this particular example, a Hyundai Kona Electric is tested in the cold and the results are as expected. Both range and efficiency drop off as the temperatures drop.

What’s unique in this video is that it examines the power draw of electronics and comfort features of the car. So, we’re not really looking at the power draw from driving. Instead, this clip examines those other items that are often used to keep you warm & toasty.

Check out the video above for more of the Kona Electric’s efficiency drop in the winter.

Be sure to check out our in-depth piece on the Kona Electric’s thermal management system here.

Video description:

Merry Christmas!

Finally edited this video with a day to spare before Christmas.

I was curious why the efficiency during winter isn’t as good as summer so wanted to quantify the KW usage of the various electronics and comfort features in the car.

This isn’t a conclusive test as to start with the delay in updating the display is unexplained as is the components using the default 200 to 300 watts of energy.

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59 Comments on "Winter Driving Kills Hyundai Kona Electric Efficiency: Video"

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I don’t think he mentioned what the ambient temperature around the car was. The car obviously was heating on its heat pump since it used so little juice.

The question is – does an auxiliary resistance heater also turn on if the outside temperature is cold? My bolt ev ranges from 5-8 kw additional load with the heater on, and my ELR is also in this range when using the resistance heater only.

Interesting video but there’s a lot of problems with his testing method.

— He is testing in a static (non moving) situation, == big difference between this and having 40 or 50 mph winds pulling heat away from the car.
– Fans/humidity, multiple temp sensors —
“Sensors include but may not be limited to:
ambient temperature sensor (mounted external to the vehicle)
interior temperature sensor
high and low pressure sensors
humidity sensors.”
——- iow, the whole system is going to operate differently (and likely draw more power) in a cold 50 mph wind situation
Also, on his out and back drive premise (i.e. it’s just the enviro that’s causing most of my efficiency loss) ,… he never mentions wind (big factor) , and we can probably assume that the highway dried out on his return leg … which would also have a significant impact on his energy consumption.

Rule of thumb for an ICE car is 2.5% efficiency loss for every 10 deg F drop. This will be significantly more (worse) in an EV, as ICE cars “power efficiency” (i.e. as related to BSFC) increase as you move towards a higher power situation, EVs do not..

Valid points. Also in comparison to gas vehicles in Winter it’s the one place where the tremendous amounts of waste heat created by an ICE actually gets put to use.

Also, just want to mention I appreciate the video, … and would not want the “the EV puzzle” guy to try and film this while driving.

I think it’s useful info, just needs to be placed in context.

/ just wouldn’t discount increased air density, .. that is, by and large, the most significant factor.

Fuel cell electric vehicles range is not significantly affected by cold weather. Why?, because fuel cells have accessible waste thermal energy (30%). A FCEV has better range than an EV in a warm climate, but in cold climates though an FCEV is almost an order of magnitude better because the efficiency of an FCEV approaches 100% in cold climates (as that 30% “waste” is no longer waste and can be used to heat the cabin).

I would also imagine a nuclear powered vehicle would have excellent range and efficiency in cold weather.

But we’ll never see nuclear or FCEV vehicles en masse on the roads.

I’m still waiting for the Nuclear Powered Vacuum Cleaner they promised in the 1950’s.

Almost saw Mr. Fusion in the 80’s so it was close.

But I already got Gillett Fusion electric razor, but the damn thing wants a AA too! Why doesn’t it use the fusion energy I wonder.

They are more efficient in Winter as waste heat is useable, but 100% efficient, that’s not accurate.

Volkswagen’s Rudolf Krebs said in 2013 that “no matter how excellent you make the cars themselves, the laws of physics hinder their overall efficiency. The most efficient way to convert energy to mobility is electricity.” He elaborated: “Hydrogen mobility only makes sense if you use green energy”, but … you need to convert it first into hydrogen “with low efficiencies” where “you lose about 40 percent of the initial energy”. You then must compress the hydrogen and store it under high pressure in tanks, which uses more energy. “And then you have to convert the hydrogen back to electricity in a fuel cell with another efficiency loss”. Krebs continued: “in the end, from your original 100 percent of electric energy, you end up with 30 to 40 percent”

It would make sense if “green” electricity would be at price of gold. May it was so in 2013. Not anymore. Anyway, if you assume “green” electricity is so expensive that it would require to sacrifice car functionality and pay big premium for big battery, it would never go mainstream, period.

“Green” electricity needs to get cheaper to go mainstream in the first place, and I think it is already happening in some locations. And hydrogen is just way cheaper for long term storage than Li Ion batteries, so you make it one way or another if you rely on intermittent energy sources.

More lies by an anti-EV shill for H2.

Unfortunately, if you show up at the time when the Dispensary is BROKEN, and you don’t have enough H2 to get you to a working one, you’ll freeze in your car once the Hydrogen runs out.

Bill, H2 certainly isn’t my fuel of choice either. But the post above smacks of exactly the same type of trolling that ICE folks do to EVs. H2 is bad on the merits: high costs, created from petroleum, inefficient, leaks, centralized refueling infractructure, and yes reliability issues. So there’s no need to troll H2 vehicles IMHO.


ga2500ev, IMHO all the points you have listed are more relevant to electricity than to hydrogen. So you suffer from the same bias really 😉 1. H2 cost is very high for low volume pilot stations, but so is cost of electricity at equivalent 1 MW charger and costs of battery that can handle it. 2. It isn’t created from petroleum (liquid oil). It may be created from fossil fuel just like electricity is, when it is cheapest source of energy. It was produced from electrolysis at mass scale for fertilizer production before advent of natural gas in the second half of XX century. Unlike electric grid however, hydrogen production doesn’t require dispatchable source of energy. 40-50-60% capacity factor is already good enough. Major advantage here if you seriously want go with renewable energy. 3. “Leaks” – electric grid “leaks” more. Few percents of energy are lost between powerplant and outlet. 4. “Centralized refueling”. There is nothing more centralized than electric grid. It is natural monopoly, whole countries depend on continent wide grid, like house of cards depend on every single card to prevent collapse in case of natural disaster, war, or just bad planning. Microgrids are just not competitive… Read more »

The fool cell trolls have been hitting insideevs hard lately.

It’s coming up on FC Troll year end bonus time.

But you’ve got to pay for the hydrogen whereas the fuel for a BEV is free using solar to charge.

That’s a bit of a reach. Solar infrastructure is never actually free. It’s just the longer one uses it, the lower the amortized cost becomes. Also, at least in theory, there is a solar water electrolysys path for hydrogen. The problem is both the inefficiency of the process and the compression and storage issues for the H2 makes it an untenable proposition. Direct usage and battery storage of solar generated power is certainly the most efficient mechanism. But it certainly isn’t free.


FCEV lobbyist paid by the Japanese government and Toyota/Honda

My Fusion Energi has that trouble, too. Soon as the ambient temps drop below 45*, I lose about 30-50 % range on battery. And that’s before I turn on lights or run environmental controls, ( set to low mostly, mild climate here for winters)
Talking to other EV and PHEV drivers in my area, it seems to be a common issue. Dealing with lithium ion battery packs at “the office”, degradation is something we’ve come to expect in cooler weather. Even our Tesla owner has this issue, and he keeps his pride and joy in a heated garage.

No car has heated elements in the windscreen glass upfront thats possible only on the rear windscreen. For the front the heater air is used.

At one point the e-Golf did. Not sure if still does.

Not so. All the VW eGolfs sold in the US, as far as I know, have fine imbeded wires throughout the front windshield for deiceing and defogging. They are so fine you would not notice them unless you were looking for them. Still not as efficient as heat pump provided air defrosting until you get down to very cold temps but they work well. I drove one, a 2015 car and it had this system.

My 02 forester has that, it’s called the winter package.

Apart from my old Ford Fiesta. Seems Ford and Ford related cars can have heated screens. Not a myth, fact, which explains why I hoped to find one.
Having performed a defrosting test I now see it’s not needed anyway, unless it’s more efficient of course

Volvo had (has?) it at least in a few modls, so did ford.

I have it in my Ford passenger van. Practical, but sometimes I wish they were transparent.

Electronic Vehicles and Combustion engine vehicles share a few similar characteristics. In cold temperatures below approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit and temperatures approximately over 88 degrees Fahrenheit resistance values increase. Likewise combustion engines will consume more fuel in the similar parameters. Perfect temperatures are about 65-79 degrees Fahrenheit for both . And below 1200 feet above sea level. Only a marginal amount of clients fall in both respective areas for the vehicles EV or not . I’m not an engineer but any one would tell you more in depth the actual information related to the drops n economy and mileage rates.

I just finished a road trip from Texas to Colorado and back, a total distance of about 2,000 miles, in my 2018 Leaf. I was appalled by the loss of efficiency in cold weather but the loss of efficiency did not appear to have anything to do with battery temperature. Most of the time the battery temperature hovered around 70 degrees F, which is considered normal temperature for the Leaf. I tried to use as many CHAdeMO chargers as I could find along the way but I still ended up using a lot of L2 chargers. Needless to say, I had a lot of time to think about why the efficiency loss was so bad at colder temperatures. The only thing that really made sense is that colder air is denser causing greater air resistance at speeds. So it really shouldn’t matter what kind of EV you drive, every EV should experience the same kind of efficiency loss at colder temperatures. And it also shouldn’t matter what kind battery thermal management system you have, at least on long trips where the battery stays warm. The only way I can see to really improve EV efficiency at colder temperatures is to… Read more »

lower aero drag won’t fully solve the issue. A change in battery chemistry may help, but even ice vehicles have reduced range in cold weather. With ev’s we are dealing with such small amounts of stored energy compared to gas or diesel small changes in efficiency have big effects in range.

I drove through Canada to New York, a lot colder than Texas to Colorado. Loss of efficiency (2018 Tesla Model 3) was around 30% with normal driving. When I limited my speed to 65mph, which I did on part of the trip, the efficiency loss was just 10%. Anything in the 10-30% range is noticeable, but not appallingly bad. Certainly there was nothing unusable about it; I still safely had 200 miles of range even at the highest levels of efficiency loss. Based on this experience, I have no issues doing road trips in an EV, and comparing your experience to mine, I also doubt that every EV experiences the same amount of efficiency loss at colder temperatures no matter what kind of EV you drive.

Are you sure your observed efficiency loss is not due to altitude gain? If you’re driving from sea level to the Rocky Mountains, that will deliver a big hit on efficiency, for reasons having nothing to do with EVs or cold weather, but rather simple physics. Regen helps recover some energy on the return (downhill) portions, but regen doesn’t have perfect efficiency.

“Most of the time the battery temperature hovered around 70 degrees F, which is considered normal temperature for the Leaf.”

This “normal temperature” that you state (70 degrees F) for an operational 2018 Nissan Leaf battery (40kWh), is NOT the demonstrated or verifiable case, in many video demonstrations that operate in mild 60 – 80 degree F temperature conditions, especially after one or more DC fast charging EVents.

If the average temperature in your specific road trip driving conditions was in the 20 – 40 degree F range, then Leaf battery temps with repetitive DC Fast charging, could have quite easily “hovered around 70 degrees F.”

Just to clarify, the chart developed by Tony Williamson on Leaf battery performance indicates 1 percent efficiency loss for every 4 degrees below 70 degrees F for battery temperature. This formula worked well when applied to ambient temperature but not to battery temperature. This formula help me by predicting a 10 percent efficiency loss when the temperatures were 30 degrees F outside.

This man doesn’t understand how different HVAC systems are controlled in EVs. I assume the Kona has a humidity sensor that would affect whether or not a compressor would come on to dehumidify or heat air when the cabin is up to temp, for efficiency reasons.

I do like that the Kona has consumption for the different systems. The Volt did for the HVAC but the Bolt does not. For most it doesn’t matter.

Nonono. Most of it was misguiding. Seatheaters actually are around 30-90W in full power. That is temporarly…average is closer to 10-40W.. Heater also fire up hard for short period. There is a heat pump and ptc heater working together for a moment.

Funny, innit, how relatively short-range EVs like the BMW i3 and e-Golf are never the subject of critical reports like these.
And tragic to see yet again how near-zero comment-posters – like the author – ever mention the environment let alone give priority to the climate change / climate emergency factor: oh you poor suffering humans – you “only” get 350km of range on cold days !
And the fact is that all studies have always shown that 85%-90% of drivers drive less than 50 miles on over 300 days of the year…and circa 50% drive over 150 miles on FEWER than 20 days annually.
You poor dears ! How’s about just expressing gratitude occasionally to the unsung EV activists and campaigners who’ve worked tirelessly for decades to pressure carmakers into finally producing EVs like the Kona eSUV – instead of whingeing about “only” getting 300-350 km of range on cold days ?
Such suffering!

1st world problems. so sad.

without negative feedback, how would anything get better?

bjorns video about testing the Kona Ev in Norway is more appealing….

Kills my fiat 500e by about 10-15%.

Nobody complained when they use more gas during winter?
Because ICE cars doesn’t show you data.

Sure they do. . The computer in the car shows instant fuel use, and you can set a period and meassure the fuel consumption that way. It has been a lot in the media, often in regards to block heaters – since using a block heater prevent an extra dirty cold start for the engine, and not only are emissions lowered, but they use a lot less fuel and increase the life of the engine. With borderline psycho fuel prices, fuel consumption is important. Hence the use of fuel efficient cars, and the love for EVs. EVs is the easiest way a family can save money. I usually drive a diesel car at work, and it has an extra diesel heater (Eberspächer) since the car is so energy efficient, it can not provide enough excess heat. That is normal for small efficient diesel cars. That car generation is replaced by new cars in a few month. Many will probably electric. I’ve only driven one EV where the loss in range was huge, and problematic in winter, and that was the electric version of the Nissan NV200. Huge drop in range. The e-golf, Tesla Model S, i3, 2nd gen LEAF, Zöe… Read more »

Not the actual reason. Actual reason is that since gas carries a lot more available energy, the impact of efficiency loss is much less pronounced. Typical MPGe tags gas at 33 kHw/gal. So a Kona has the equivalent of 2 gallons of gas worth of capacity. An ICE with a 12 gallon tank has the equivalent of a 400 kWh battery. So impacts of high speed, heating (which is generated by waste heat in an ICE anyway), or weather, nudges the needle a lot less than with an EV that carries 15% of the total energy capacity.


Most ICE vehicles come with fuel usage indicators nowadays.

The actual reason is the variation between weather conditions is minimal in the grand scheme of things AND ICE vehicles have a much higher average range to begin with.

All the top 10 selling ICE cars have highway ranges of over 400 miles, whereas most EV’s have highway ranges below 300 miles (in fact do even the LR Teslas have >300 miles of range at highway speeds?).

10-15% loss of range on a car with 400 miles of range is minimal (400 to 340/360 miles).

20-40% loss of range on a car with 260 miles of range is significant (260 to 160-201 miles).

That’s especially true when you consider range is more important when travelling on the highway, a location where ICE vehicles are more efficient, and EV’s are less efficient to begin with).

Tesla’s trip planner seems to be quite accurate. Yesterday I drove from home to a supercharger 223 miles away. Trip planner predicted I will 240 miles of charge to drive that 223 miles. Was right on the nose. On the way back, at night, supercharger to home was 127 miles, I left with 240 miles of charge. It predicted I would use 167 miles of charge to drive 127 miles. On the nose again. Ambient temp was 30 degrees, cabin at 68 degrees. I could have kept the jacket on, turned the heat to low or none, but why? If I have enough juice, just use it. There are superchargers if the juice runs out. Its no big deal.

I save 10 minutes every week by not going to the gas station for the weekly fill up. Deposit all those minutes in a “time bank”, withdraw from that on longer trips.

Toyota is so smart to focus on hybrids rather than fully electric vehicles. The average consumer wants and needs a car that just works.

Not as smart as Volt or Bmw i3 REX, though…

Especially the i3 Rex. The 2019 model is almost perfect. The battery pack has nearly 200 miles of all electric range that takes care of well over 95+% of all trips. This is coupled with a fast charging port that facilitates quick and flexible refueling. Finally the REx can bridge the rare occasions where the battery runs low and a charging station just happens to not be nearby. The cherry on top is recoding the North American i3 to kick in the REx to maintain a charge up to a 75% battery level for long trips. The combination of the three facilitates using what’s most available on long trips. One can drive all electric stopping to fast charge. But if fast charging isn’t available for a leg of the trip, the driver can kick in the Rex and use a combination of gas and electric to get to either the next fast charger or a gas station for a long trip. I’d actually pull the trigger on a 2014 or 2015 off lease version if it had a 5th seat. Most PHEVs haven’t been real smart up until now because small batteries, short ranges, and slow charging almost guarantees that… Read more »

The Volt has been killed off while the Prius and all of Toyota’s hybrids soldier on.

When GM and BMW can produce a partially-electric car for a premium of $1000 or less over the ICE model, as Toyota has done, then I’ll agree that those cars are smart.


Testing is flawed

AC in winter would use outside air, no energy cost

Nope. The purpose of using AC for defrosting isn’t to cool. It’s to dehumidify, drying the air. That’s why defrosting works even though it seemingly makes no sense because it runs the AC and the heat at the same time.


Depends where you are. In the mountains or a continental climate humidity is often in the teens/low 20’s so just pumping the air through would help dehumidify the vehicle.

> cold weather and snowy conditions reduce EV range, as well as gas car range.

I was sitting in a traffic jam in freezing cold weather, watching the smoke belch out of all the cars around me, clearly using much more fuel than normal… I just had to wonder why it people get so worked up about EVs having the same problem.

“Yes of course my EV is less efficient in cold weather. So is your car. In fact, so are you an I. That’s life. Get over it.”


Most people I know just call AAA if they have a flat tire. Personally I’d rather have an actual spare and change it myself, rather than wait for AAA, but that’s just me.


Most people I know just call AAA if they have a flat tire. Personally I’d rather have an actual spare and change it myself, rather than wait for AAA, but that’s just me.